Aarifah Sings About Her Own Evolution on Breathtaking Debut Single ‘Now She Knows’
The Mumbai-bred artist has had the song in her locker for over five years
If you’ve been following the independent music scene in India for the past decade, the name Aarifah Rebello would be hard to escape. The singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist – who goes by her first name – has been part of bands such as Ladies Compartment, Lawntuba, Nookie Jar and Toycatcher, performed extensively as a solo artist at clubs and festivals, and was even part of the nationwide talent hunt, NEXA Music’s Top 24, in 2019.
However, the Mumbai-bred artist says, “I didn’t get into music thinking that I’d become a musician.” She adds, “I saw Gino Banks play the drums, got inspired, curious and just accidentally found myself opportunities in music. My intention was to get out of my comfort zone, from being a shy, quiet person to confidently owning my awkwardness, and so I was just flowing from one experience to the next.”
Now, after all these years and plenty of experience as an artist, Aarifah is finally out with her debut solo single, the stunning “Now She Knows.” Although she tells us that she could have released the track five years ago, the musician felt back then that she hadn’t defined her purpose yet and that her lack of technical knowledge was a stumbling block. “Pausing to introspect during the pandemic, I worked on identifying who I was as a human being, what I enjoyed about my own music and just appreciating the value of my experiences,” she says. The singer-songwriter adds, “So, the main reason I didn’t release anything is that I needed to learn to be confident in myself, and this is something I intend on working towards continuously.”
“Now She Knows” opens with delicate acoustic guitar work before Aarifah’s blissful voice chimes in with perfect pitch and a relaxed texture, as she begins to paint a beautiful picture through her lyrics. The song then opens up with strumming, bass parts, ambient sonic elements, harmonies, counter melodies and dynamism. According to Aarifah, with “Now She Knows” she penned down her journey from being quiet and timid to finding a space to confidently express herself. “I did this by first pushing myself to get a job in my second year [of college] with Furtados Music [Juhu]. ‘You can find her at the store’ – yes, that’s the store I reference in these lyrics.”
The singer-songwriter further shares, “Interacting as a salesperson, learning to listen to the customer, and being proactive and empathetic amongst other learnings gave me a lot of self-confidence and unintentionally opened up many doors to the music industry.” Aarifah’s gig at Furtados eventually led to her performing in college bands and playing her first paid solo show, which allowed her to network as a musician.
She self-produced “Now She Knows” and recorded vocals and guitars at Pune’s Gray Spark Audio. The singer-songwriter then tapped guitarist Bharath Kashyap (from Bengaluru folk/indie trio Cinema of Excess) and bassist Yohann Coutinho (from Mumbai alt-rockers Unohu) to perform on the track. The song was then mixed by Mumbai rockers The Koniac Net’s guitarist Jason D’Souza and mastered by Shawn Hatfield from Audible Oddities in the U.K.
The music video – directed by Aarifah – captures the singer-songwriter’s journey with archival footage of her, along with friends and family, from the time she was in school to when she played in bands. “I wanted to highlight it all because I would not be where I am today without them, and I’m blessed to have had their company,” she says. Videographer Debasis also filmed the singer-songwriter out in the wilderness as her present self.
Currently, Aarifah is planning a tour and has also found herself falling back in love with arts and crafts, something she plans to integrate into her performances and merch. She says, “I knew of Leonardo Da Vinci, Van Gogh and Michelangelo before I knew of the Beatles.” The musician is also part of a new dream-rock outfit called Long Distances and is even working on collaborations apart from her own material. “Now that I have a concrete idea of how long it takes to release something, I’m working backwards from intended release dates and all I’ll say is there are a lot of things I’m working really hard on, and you’re going to hear from me very soon,” she signs off.
Watch the music video for “Now She Knows” below and hear the song on streaming platforms.